08 November 2007

Thursday Morning Antics of a Drowned Rat

I bring this brief pause from the travelogue... I still want to share more about Morocco & then there's still the Netherlands but my morning has taken my thoughts elsewhere. Besides, I have a scrumptious picture of a Moroccan meal which, of course, I left on my memory stick at home today and it has disrupted my plans for the next post. So after this message we will be back to our scheduled programing.

And now - a brief moment of crankiness (not over anything life shattering or even life altering but a little mundane morning thing). It's pouring down snow out today. That means although its mostly frozen it lands as wetness on humans and slush on the streets, big fat flakes the size of mice and just at the freezing point. It's cold and gray and makes you wish for nothing other then to curl up in front of a warm fire with a hot beverage and dream of that hot weather in Morocco. On my way to work this morning, as usual, I was bicycling, I blew a tire. Blew it all over the place in the middle of the road.

I heard a funny noise and then felt a lurch. Naturally I stopped to see what the trouble was but I encountered difficulty as a) wasn't exactly light enough out to see b) my glasses were so covered with rain that I couldn't see through them and c) when I took my glasses off I couldn't really see either. What I could see was a smear of green goop which usually coats the inside of the tire tube, and I could see that my actual tire was no longer on the wheel rim. So, I attempted to take said wheel off the bike so I could at least get the tire & the donut tube off as they were currently caught up in the braking system making even pushing the bicycle a no go. So here I am kneeling in a puddle of slush with water streaming down my face in rivulets trying to get the lever to move but it won't because it's frozen solid. I'm off to plan B which is to use the bungee cords I have on my bike to attempt to secure the said tire & tube out of the way of the brakes and the rim so that I might be able to push it the rest of the way to work. I am successful in this and begin to push. Let me say that pushing a bicycle in half a foot of slush is a lot harder then pedaling through it.

It feels like a loooonnng way to work and I keep hoping that some co-worker will drive by and take pity on me but of course, I take the scenic route which my co-workers, in their rush to work, probably avoid. Finally I get to the location of the covered bike rack at work. I take off my dripping wool hat and my glasses and wipe the water from my face. Then I get back to work on the lever. I grunt, I make loud noises, you know, the kinds of noises you do to put a little extra umph behind your arms. I notice a few co-workers scurrying past, I'm sure they're all terrified to come too close and after all, they just want to hop from their nice dry cars to their nice dry offices and avoid any lunatics in the parking lot. I do succeed in getting the lever to move finally and remove the rear wheel. I park the bike in the rack and next to it the tire and the rear wheel frame and lock it all together, the tube I take with me and then, with my glasses still clenched between my teeth I make my way to the door. My colleagues comment, as I walk determinedly to my cubicle that I look a little wet, a little like a drowned rat.

On dropping my sopping wet outer gear and wishing I had a towel for my hair which is wetter then if I had taken 10 showers this morning I inspect the tube. It has been a spectacular blow out and will not be repairable (and of course, the nearest open bike shop is in Los Anchorage). My male colleagues all gather round to look at the tire and make comments, they laugh at my story, they make useful suggestions as to who might have an extra tire lying around of that size, they suggest that I am utterly crazy for biking in this weather (except for one co-worker who actually passed me on his bike who comments "You didn't look like you were in trouble or I would have stopped"). It is the female colleagues who, after the male colleagues are done laughing and review the events, quietly offer me & my beleaguered bike a ride home in the evening.


  1. Helpfulness often disguises the real sentiment, which is usually thank goodness that didn't happen to me.

    Mundane crankiness is the best kind. Sooner or later we all share the love. I shudder at thought of riding my bike, I have this fear of being flattened by the traffic the moment I pull out of my subdivision. I live in a city that doesn't comprehend bicyclist or pedestrians. I'm glad you'll have a drier ride home.

  2. I am glad you have a ride home.

    I have stopped many, many times for people who look like they are in your situation (I drive in to work from the country). I have to say over half the time they turn down the ride - stubborn and determined to make it to wherever they need to be - on the damn BIKE!

    Kudos to you for pressin gon, despite less than agreeable weather.

  3. ouch! that's a rough start to a day, but it says a lot about you that it registers as a little mundane morning thing. amazing that you got passed by another biker who didn't stop. that's just rude! at least stop and chat. damn. good luck with the repair tonight, i'm sure you'll be back out there tomorrow.

  4. What a start to the day! When I think of even living in the kind of weather you have for most of the year, I admire you - and as for riding a bike in it, I think you are heroic.

  5. ms chica ~ the "glad it's not me sentiment" and the "you're absloutely crazy" sentiment. I'm sorry to hear you live in such a bike unfriendly place. I find biking so freeing - this morning it felt like it took so long to get the truck cleaned of snow & ice and warmed and driving is a less friendly and immediate way to experience the environment.

    qt ~ well, thanks for virtually stopping and giving me a ride! :)

    matte ~ well, the guy did wave and I must admit the weather isn't very condusive to chatting. As for the mundane, in comparison to so many things it is just a minor annoyance & inconvience. It annoyed me at the time but by the time I was recounting it I was laughing at the whole thing. Unfortunately, I was unable to repair as I have an unusual tire size and no one else seems to have a spare. So someone is sending me one from Los Anchorage.

    parlance ~ awww, thanks!


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